Late last year, I found myself wondering whether my dog Pixel had designed a game. I came to the conclusion that Pixel and her co-designer had in fact agreed on some consistent rules of play, which were as follows.

1. There is always one stick in play.
2. Whichever dog has the stick is It.
3. The dog that is not It chases the dog who is.
4. If the pursuing dog gets the stick, that dog takes the stick and becomes It.

Pixel, being a dog and all, couldn’t really name the game herself, so I took the liberty of dubbing it Stick Tag.

That both dogs understood and abided by the rules (and that those rules made Stick Tag subtly but significantly different from more standard dog game fare, like chase or tug-of-war) seemed pretty certain. What I wasn’t sure about was whether Pixel would try to teach the game to other dogs, and whether they would understand (and/or, you know, care).

Looks like the answers are yes and no, respectively.


Pixel has been trying to teach her game to other dogs, and so far there have been no takers. In her various attempts to spread the good word about Stick Tag, she’s shown me that I shouldn’t be calling it Stick Tag, because the stick could just as well be a ball, or some other toy. The object isn’t valuable for what it is, but for what it represents. She runs with the object, the token, in her mouth, and then when the dog pursuing her touches it, she drops it right away and gestures expectantly in some new direction: OK, your turn. Now you get to chase me.

So far, no dog other than her co-designer has understood that key rule.

Now, she is of course at a pretty serious disadvantage, having to communicate the rules wordlessly. But since the game was co-designed—or negotiated, or spontaneously imagined, or something —without the use of words, I think it’s fair to hold out hope.

So, to summarize, the rules are:

1. There is always one stick token in play.
2. Whichever dog has the stick token is It.
3. The dog that is not It chases the dog who is.
4. If the pursuing dog gets the stick token, that dog (hopefully, presumably, sometimes) takes the stick token and becomes It.

Given that revision, I wonder what to call this thing. Pixel Tag?

I’m open to suggestions. Stay tuned, fellow Somethingorother Tag fans.


  1. Thanks to the sound and prosody of the name, I humbly submit “Pixelchase.” It does break the “____ Tag” pattern, which has its own appeal, but… I just really like the way it sounds :)

    1. I like! And I’m all for losing the word “tag.” It’s probably confusing matters.

      Pixelchase could work quite well, I think. :D

Be the comment you want to see in the world.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.